SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Mongolia).

Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, is the most populated city of the country, with 1.5 million inhabitants. It is not only the coldest capital in the world, the average temperature in January in is around -40°C, but also one of the most polluted ones. These two facts are linked together, as inhabitants still use coal to warm their gers (typical Mongolian yurts) against the winter cold. Due to harsh conditions in rural areas, many people have sought a better life and moved to cities. However, the newcomers often end up living in poverty on the borders of the city, in ger districts without proper infrastructure and basic services.

Since 2002, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Ulaanbaatar.

Of people live in gers districts in Ulaanbaatar

Children live in harsh conditions

More and more people move to the capital in search of a better life, but around 800,000 people end up living in gers (Mongolian yurts) at the border of the city. That’s more than 25% of all Mongolian citizens. They have very limited access to resources and infrastructure. As the gers cannot be connected to the city’s heating system, they heat their gers with coal stoves. Furthermore, they have to collect water at public wells. Ger districts increase inequality in the capital: 60% of the people living in the gers are unemployed. Interestingly, Mongolians consider living in gers as part of their culture and are often reluctant to leave these living conditions. But children suffer from the lack of resources and the harsh conditions.

Increase in temperature since 1940

Children affected by climate risks

Temperature has increased 3 times faster since 1940 than the global average (by 2.25 °C). Mongolia, due to its ecosystems, is vulnerable to climate change risks, both in rural and urban areas. People burn coal to get through the harsh winters, making the capital one of the world’s most polluted cities. This burning affects emissions, which in turn foster harsh winters, and as such it becomes a vicious circle. The nomads depend mainly on livestock, which is also highly affected by climate change. Climate change affects poverty, nutrition, education; and children are most vulnerable to these changes.

Your support makes a difference for children in Ulaanbaatar

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Can stay together
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Children chatting together. Siblings grow up with each other, and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Mongolia).

How your support helps in Ulaanbaatar

Strengthening families and communities
When parents face hardships, they can sometimes struggle to give children the care they need. SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to empower parents. Each family needs different support so that they can stay together. This support can include workshops on parenting and children’s rights. We also run training so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start their own businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to school.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Here the children can build safe and lasting relationships. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.
Supporting young people to become independent
To help young people become confident and independent, our local team works closely with each young person to develop a plan for their future. We support young people and also help them prepare for the labour market and increase their employment prospects. For example, young people can attend workshops and trainings run by SOS Children’s Villages. They also improve their skills through taking part in different projects with local mentors and businesses.